Dazzling 'Then And Now' Photos Show London's Changing Face

By M@ Last edited 83 months ago
Dazzling 'Then And Now' Photos Show London's Changing Face

London Then and Now is a wonderful book which takes old photos of London and recreates the scene from the same spot. It's by no means a new idea, but this particular volume pulls it off with rare aplomb.

With some 400 pages of comparisons, this is both an intriguing and generous collection showing just how much London has changed. Below, we pick out six of our favourite pairings. Modern photos were taken in 2016, when the book was published.

Bank junction

Dozens of people were killed in Bank station during the second world war, following a direct hit from a bomb. The photo below appears to show the rebuild, including a temporary wall through the middle of the junction. Below is the scene in 2016.

Balham station

Another tragedy occurred at Balham station in October 1940, when a bomb crashed down to platform level, killing over 60 people. This famous shot shows the devastation at ground level, including a toppled no 88 bus.

Isle of Dogs

Few areas of the city have changed as much as the northern end of the Isle of Dogs. The former dockyards were swept away during the 1980s to make way for the Canary Wharf estate. The older photo shows the docks in 1934.

Greenwich Park

The changes at Canary Wharf can also be seen in these shots from Greenwich hill. Note also how the park is given over to allotment space in the older photograph. Greenwich Power Station, to the far right, still exists and is due a new lease of life as a low-carbon energy plant. It is hidden by a tree in the more recent shot.

South Bank

The South Bank began its life as a tourist destination in 1951, when the formerly industrial area was transformed for the Festival of Britain. Here we see the area in 1955, with the newly built Royal Festival Hall and the landmark Shot Tower. The latter would last another decade before demolition to make way for the Queen Elizabeth Hall. At the top of the picture can be seen the South Bank's shortlived heliport, which lasted less than a year.

Earls Court

And finally, a sad comparison that is already out of date. The world-famous Earls Court exhibition centre has been demolished, to make way for housing. Here it is in 1976, during a Rolling Stones tour.

The book London Then and Now: People and Places is available from Batsford. Then images © Getty/British Aerofilms. Now (2016) images by Frank Hopkinson and Juliette Boulouis.

Last Updated 11 October 2016